News article created on 10 October 2019

Seven-mile laser beam set to ‘soar’ above Leicester as part of our Diwali celebrations

A seven-mile neon laser beam, marking the line of the River Soar as it runs through the heart of Leicester, is set to light up the city’s skyline as part of the 2019 Diwali celebrations.

Photo credit Patrick Murphy

We have commissioned the laser to celebrate the festival of light and showcase the important role the river plays in daily life within the city.

For the past two years we have celebrated Diwali on the River Soar, but the celebrations this time around are set to be our biggest and brightest yet.

The centerpiece for the charity’s Diwali Canal Festival of Light will be the laser beam, Canal Column of Light created by local artist Patrick Murphy, which will rise diagonally into the night sky charting the course of the River Soar beneath it. The beam will be visible for miles around as it climbs up into the city sky, from near Memory Lane, reflecting down onto the water in vibrant changing colours.

The festival, which takes place on Friday 18 October at Limekiln Lock next to Abbey Park, will conclude a week of Diwali activities organised by us, along with Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, throughout the half term holidays.

Free arts activities will be held at the centre over the course of the week enabling people to have a go at traditional Rangoli artwork or make their own floating boat or diva which will be illuminated and floated on the surface of the river within Limekiln Lock. Visitors can also help to make a large fish which will be floated on the river alongside a swan, lotus flower and diva which were created last year. During the daytime on Friday 18 October people will also have the chance to create their own Rangoli artwork, working with artist James Brunt of Responsible Fishing, using natural materials found along the towpath by Limekiln Lock.

Limekiln Lock is also set to be specially illuminated on the evening of 18 October and visitors will be able to enjoy an evening of light and music with spiced teas, traditional sweets and savoury snacks on offer.

Roseanna Burton, community roots project coordinator said: “We’re really excited for Diwali. The laser beam will be a real spectacle and unlike anything ever seen in Leicester before."

“More than a third of people in Leicester live within just 1km of the river yet many may not know that they have this most amazing community space right on their doorsteps."

“We want to encourage more people in Leicester to explore the river, possibly for the first time, and we’re delighted to kick things off in style with Diwali. The amazing column of light, which will be at the heart of our celebrations, will signpost the river and show just how close people are to this wonderful waterside world.

“We look forward to welcoming people to our arts workshops throughout the week and, of course, the big laser switch-on on the evening of Friday 18 October.”

Anil Majithia, chair of the Trust’s East Midlands Regional Advisory Board, said: “Research tells us that spending time by water is good for your health and mental wellbeing and the Diwali celebrations on the River Soar are the perfect opportunity to experience those benefits for yourself."

“I would encourage people to get the family together and come down to Limekiln Lock for an evening of light, music and food in the most amazing waterside setting.”

The laser beam will be switched on at 6.30pm on Friday 18 October and will be visible for up to seven miles until midnight.